THIRTY-ONE-YEAR-old No. 3-ranked world high jumper, Levern Spencer, won her 14th Sportswoman of the Year title on Saturday night, extending her record of winning the title stretching back to 2000 when she first won the senior category.
The three-time Olympian’s latest win at the 37th National Sports Awards on Saturday came at the expense of compatriots Marina St. Pierre (bodybuilding), Stephanie Lovell-Devaux (sailing) and Mikaela Casimir (swimming).
Having won the award in 2013, Johnson Charles picked up another Sportsman of the Year title. Although absent from the ceremony on the night, the West Indies T20/ODI and Saint Lucia Zouks and Windward Islands opening batsman copped the award ahead of 2016 Rio Olympian Jordan Augier (swimming), Julian Biscette (volleyball) and U.S.-based Marbeq Edgar (athletics).
In the junior category, the Sportswoman of the Year was record-breaking swimming sensation Katie Kyle, who held off stiff challenges from defending title holder, Julien Alfred (athletics) and Meggan Nestor (netball).
Youth cricketer Johnnel Eugene had something to smile about as he retained the award for Junior Sportsman of the Year for the second consecutive year, equaling the record in that category with Sergio Fedee (cricket, 1997-1998) and Runako Daniel (swimming, 2009-2010). Eugene defeated Nathan Ferrari (boxing) in what appeared to be a close call on the night and Levi Leonce (volleyball).
Extraordinary Awards went to Zephirinus Joseph, who was recently inducted in the Hall of Fame at his alma mater, Central Arizona College in the USA, while Saint Lucia’s five Rio Olympians — Spencer, JeannelleScheper, Stephanie Lovell–Devaux, Jordan Augier and Javid Best — were presented with tokens of appreciation by Saint Lucia Olympics Committee President, Fortuna Belrose.
In other awards presented, Carol Mangal from the Saint Lucia Amateur Swimming Association was named top administrator.
The national Under-15 cricket team was named Team of the Year for retaining the Windward Islands tournament. They were followed by their senior counterparts, the male and female national Under-23 volleyball teams, for winning the NORCECA tournaments respectively.
The Saint Lucia Cricket Association was named the Association of the Year; Technical Official of the Year — Vanessa Williams (basketball); Coach of the Year — Alton Crafton (cricket), Club of the Year — Sea Jays Swim Club; Lifetime Achievement Award went to Allan Hippolyte for his sterling contribution to athletics; Posthumous Award — Radio Sportscaster Brian Mc Donald (RSL).
“Every year is a new year, and fourteen years is a lot,” Spencer told The VOICE. “I have been working very hard. 2016 was one of my best years since my career started. In most of my achievements for 2016 I went on to create history for Saint Lucia; being the first one to qualify for the finals in the Olympics, second in the Diamond League and the list goes on. Hopefully, this year I can stay healthy and continue to work hard.”